The pursuit of success, the desire to make it, the hunger for the peak can sometimes make us forget the reason why we want what we want. I’m not talking about the noble motives of wanting to help humanity, help your family, be famous for your discoveries etc. I’m talking about the godly motive of viewing everything as a means to an end – glorifying God.
This perspective is quite important because it changes the whole essence of your pursuit; it transforms what you fix your gaze on, how you view the huddles on the way to its accomplishment and how you approach them.
It revolutionises your thought pattern and makes you see that you’re pursuing a higher goal, way beyond the desire for fame, wealth and comfort. It energises your inner being, strengthens your bones so much that people would wonder what is the source of your courage in the face of terrible environmental and climatic conditions. Such was the case of the boy David.
God, not success: killing Goliath is only a means to an end.
We’ll briefly talk about this perspective using the fight between David and Goliath as an example.
As I wrote in an article a few weeks ago, David had been sent by his father Jesse to give some food to his brothers who were at the war front, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread and run quickly to the camp to your brothers. Also, take these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of the unit. See how your brothers are doing and bring back news of them.”
As David approached, the Philistine champion Goliath came out as other times to taunt the army of Israel and her God. And like other times, the army of Israel was cowed at his sight and retreated. But the young man David couldn’t have it and so demanded to know the price tag on the head of this monster.
Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes the disgrace [of his taunting] from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God?”
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the corpses of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel and that this entire assembly may know that the Lord does not save with the sword or with the spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will hand you over to us.” – 1 SAMUEL 17:45-47 AMP
The above response of David to Goliath gives you an idea of how David considered the battle. He wasn’t seeing it as an ordinary fistfight between two nations, neither was he seeing Goliath’s defeat as an end to itself – though that would be a noble motive to fight. But David understood that there was something more, there was Someone more, that although invisible, is an integral part of the fight and on whose stead he fought. Victory won’t be an end in itself, it’ll be a means to something more.
Now, let’s consider the effects of such perspective:
1. It determines your weapons.
Goliath presented his height, his sword, spear and shield. But David presented a completely different instrument of war – THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HOSTS. This is the most powerful weapon that is known all over the created worlds where humans and spirits dwell.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1:16.
That Name is both an offensive and defensive weapon. It can be deployed for attack and it can serve as a shield and buckler; it is a strong tower and a divider of seas. Proverbs 29:25 says, “It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the LORD, you are safe.”
So, David knew this and decided to go to pick up this ancient, effective and efficient arsenal that has a history of granting victory to whosoever wields it.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and is safe (Proverbs 18:10). In Psalms 18:2, David said, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
Psalms 28:7 says, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”
So, when you know that achieving success in life is a means to glorifying God, you automatically possess a special weapon of war that guarantees success anywhere anytime and against anyone, spirits inclusive.
2. It determines who you are defending.
Goliath was defending his image, pedigree, prestige, honour, throne, and, of course, the Philistines. But David was defending God, who Goliath had defiled. That was a superior goal. David wasn’t necessarily after his honour, his family, his career and all that. His sole aim was to defend the name of the Lord and His people. Goliath can’t go free for saying degrading and blasphemous things against the God of Israel.
You see, when the reason behind your desire to achieve success is just to defend family, personal honour and prestige, it will take all you have. Don’t get me wrong, those are noble reasons. But when you are the one on the line, it’ll cost you everything with no guarantees. Remember satan told God that all that a man has he will give for his life.
So, when the main reason is you, you spend all and may still lose. But when you’re defending God, well, He knows how to defend Himself best. Yes, you’ll still need to take some action with your stones and sling, but ultimately He fights for himself. You just take the back seat and allow Him to lead the way while you come after to carry the spoils. Isn’t that nobler?
3. It determines why you want to fight.
Why did you get into this fight in the first place? Who challenged you into a fight and must you even fight? Many times, we fight battles that aren’t meant for us or even when they’re meant for us, it’s not obligatory to spend a joule of energy upon.
David had clarity as to why he was getting into the fight in the first place – this uncircumcised, ungodly creature has defiled His Creator, even the God of the armies of Israel. It was jealousy for God’s name that moved Him, the same jealousy that moved Phinehas to slay the Israeli man and the prostitute he brought with him to commit fornication during a troubling time that God was angry with Israel. The same jealousy which moved Jesus to make whips and drive away those that sold in the temple.
The question is: why are you fighting? Who invited you in this battle for success? And for what purpose?
4. It determines your source of confidence.
In 1 Samuel 17 verse 48, “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” David was exuding so much confidence (faith) not necessarily because he had killed lions that came for his animals in time past in the bush, but because he knew Who was before and behind him. “Those that trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion that shall not be moved.” – Psalm 125:1.
Your confidence always has a source – your human abilities, talents, experience, preparations, human connections, etc. But all those mean nothing before Goliath who has all these and more.
Your confidence should be derived from something different, something more solid, something more reliable, something that has remained faithful since the world began, shielding and preserving all those that relied on Him, Someone that created Goliath and knows all his weaknesses including the space between his heavy helmet.
So, this different perspective of victory and success grants you the confidence you need for success. And such confidence is founded on God, the Tested and Trusted.
5. It determines what you see.
Your perspective determines what you see, and what you see influences how you’ll approach the fight and what the outcome will be. David’s perspective made him see something different from the eyes of mere men.
Saul and the army of Israel were so focused on the pedigree of Goliath and his physical features that God’s might and stature seemed dwarfed. But when David magnified God, Goliath was dwarfed. No wonder, David cut off his head like a man who was short in stature.
When you focus on Goliath, his height increases, but when you focus on God, Goliath’s true height shows – he’s just an uncircumcised mortal Philistine whose mouth must be shut.
Also, while others saw the height of Goliath and those of his soldiers, David saw readymade food for the fowls of the air and the wild beasts of the earth.
When you focus on success, the road seems tortuous and you want to do whatever is necessary to manoeuvre. But when you focus on God, He takes you through the path that the lion’s whelps have not trodden.
6. It determines whose fight it is and consequently who will fight in the battle.
David knew how to rest his case after a beautiful argument as to why Goliath made the worst mistake of his life. He rested the whole argument on the fact that Goliath was actually making war with the God of heaven who knows how to throw stones from heaven. Who knows how to create an optical illusion, who knows how to pay people visitation in their dreams, who knows how to loose the loins of kings, who took off the wheels of Pharoah’s chariots and sank his host in the sea.
Once David was done, God didn’t need any other special call to appear and fight for Himself; David had triggered him and just need to take out a stone and sling it – the aim wasn’t that important as God had already told the winds to do its job of vehicling the stone to the appropriate point on Goliath’s forehead.
The battles aren’t yours when you seek God’s motive, they become God’s automatically, and you just have to call Him into battle whenever anyone presents itself.
7. It determines the results.
David knew the outcome of this fight before it even began. The moment Goliath challenged God and His host, he was already in a hot soup. The moment David heard the abuses oozing out of Goliath buccal cavity, he knew the man’s end was a matter of minutes. David was certain of victory, and before Goliath’s death already celebrated his funeral and his manner of cremation – chopping off his head that houses the mouth through which such aberrations flowed.
The focus of David was on praising God not on defeating Goliath. Defeating Goliath was simply a means of doing that. And you strengthen the feeble knees and weak hands through the manifestation of God’s glory.
Most times I have focused on success rather than the main objective – glorifying God through it. Success is just another means to praise God and show the world the beauty and benefits of serving the living God. Pointing the world to God/Jesus should be our utmost aim and not on succeeding per sé. God will create opportunities for success but He wants us to point back the people to the real Person, the real Maker and Doer by whom all things were made, and through who all things can be accomplished.
Remember that defeating Goliath or achieving success in life is only another means to praise God. That should be the focus. That is the endpoint.
Thanks for reading. If you found this and other articles helpful, kindly share them everywhere. God bless you and see you on Monday with another dose of inspiration.